While the majority of races have been cancelled, the World Mountain Running Association has been trying to keep great mountain running content coming to its community. First they took a look at the greatest of all time (GOAT) mountain runners and now they’re looking at the greatest of all time mountain running races – e.g. “GROAT”. As they did with the GOAT athletes, again you get your chance to vote for your favorites using the ballot at the bottom of this page.
The first stage of this contest is the ‘group stage’. There are 10 long races (over 21 km) and 12 short races (under 21 km). These are divided into 4 groups. You vote for what you think is the greatest race in each group. The deadline is 22nd June. Voting opens at 8pm CET on Thursday 18th June.
The top 2 races from each group will go through to the knockout stage where they will go head-to-head to decide the greatest mountain race of all time! You can download your own wall chart to follow the competition.
Here’s a look at the mountain running races in the GROAT contest:
GROUP A (long)
Mount Fuji Ascent (Japan)
Distance: 21 km (+3048 meters)
History: this race has been in existence for 72 years.
Sierre Zinal (Switzerland)
Distance: 31 km (+2200m and -1100m)
History: possibly the most famous long mountain race, it began in 1974. Previous winners of ‘the race of the five 4000s’ include Jonathan Wyatt, Ricardo Mejia, Kilian Jornet (7 times), Lucy Wambui Murigi, Anna Pichrtova (4 times) and Angela Mudge (first woman to finish in under 3 hours).
Three Peaks Race (England)
Distance: 37 km (+-1608m)
History: the first race was run in 1954, though it was already a well-established long distance walking route. Past winners include WMRA council member Sarah Rowell (4 times), Rob Jebb (4 times), Anna Frost, Tom Owens, Anna Pichrtova and Victoria Wilkinson (5 times). The race incorporated the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in 2008.
Kepler Challenge 60k (New Zealand)
Distance: 60 km (+-1350m)
History: this race has been going for 31 years and follows the Kepler Track through the Fiordland National Park. Previous winners include Ruby Muir (6 times) and Vajin Armstrong (3 times).
Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon (Malaysia)
Distance 26 km (+-2528m)
History: the race began in 1987 and as of its 30th anniversary year of 2017 it can no longer happen in order to preserve the mountain (as a UNESCO heritage site). Previous winners include Ricardo Mejia (3 times), Anna Pichrtova (5 times), Kilian Jornet (4 times) and Ruth Croft (twice).
GROUP B (long)
Giir di Mont (Italy)
Distance: 32 km (+-2860m)
History: the race began in 1961 as a challenge to unite the 12 pastures of the Premanese territory. It served as the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in 2017 (won by Silvia Rampazzo and Francesco Puppi) and the course records are held by Petro Mamu and Kasie Enman.
Distance: 45 km (+-4000m)
History: the only marathon distance mountain race with 4000m of ascent over just 4 climbs, this race recently joined the WMRA World Cup and is one of the toughest mountain races in Spain.
Jungfrau Marathon (Switzerland)
Distance: 42 km (+1829m)
History: the race began in 1993 and nowadays is a huge mass participation event. Past winners include Jonathan Wyatt (who has held the record since 2003), Andrea Mayr, Tesfaye Eticha (4 times), Emebet Abossa (3 times), Aline Camboulives (3 times) and Robbie Simpson (3 times). It has also served as host for the 2012 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships.
Pikes Peak Marathon (Colorado, USA)
Distance: 42 km (+-2382)
History: this historic Rocky Mountain race dates back to 1956 and, unusually for the times, it was open for women as well as men. Matt Carpenter holds the men’s record and has won an astounding 12 times. Erica Larson has been the most successful woman, with 5 wins. The Pikes Peak Ascent hosted the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships.
K42 Patagonia (Argentina)
Distance: 42 km (+-2184m)
History: this race started in 2003 and takes place in Villa La Angostura in Patagonia. Previous winners include the record holders Elisa Desco and Miguel Heras and in 2019 it was the race for the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships (as well as the short distance championship) resulting in wins for Jim Walmsley and Cristina Simion.
GROUP C (short)
La Montee Grand Ballon (France)
Distance: 14.8 km (+1000m)
History: dating back to 1981 this historic race has formed part of our World Cup and previous winners include Jonathan Wyatt and Isabelle Guillot.
Snowdon Race (Wales)
Distance: 10 miles (+-994m)
History: the historic mountain race started in 1976 and has hosted the European Championships and the World Cup. Previous winners include Marco De Gasperi, Izabela Zatorska, Angela Mudge, Cesare Maestri, Andi Jones (6 times), Mary Wilkinson and Sarah McCormack (both 3 times).
Hochfelln Berglauf (Germany)
Distance: 8.9 km (+1819m)
History: this race has been in existence for 47 years and has appeared many times in the World Cup.
Smarna Gora (Slovenia)
Distance: 10 km (+710 and -350m)
History: the race is 40 years old and it has been part of the World Cup (perviously Grand Prix) 18 times. Previous winners include: Ines Hižar, Rosita Rota-Gelpi, Izabela Zatorska, Petra Majdič, Mateja Kosovelj, Victoria Wilkinson, Andrea Mayr, Lucija Krkoč, Alice Gaggi, Sarah Tunstall and Lucy Murigi for the women and Lucio Fregona, Marco De Gasperi, Jonathan Wyatt, Emanuele Manzi, Mitja Kosovelj, Antonio Tornielli, Ahmet Arslan, Alex Baldaccini, Yussief Tekle, Fred Musobo, Petro Mamu, and Johan Bugge for the men.
Challenge Stellina (Italy)
Distance: 14 km (+1630m and -210m)
History: the race is 30 years old. Previous winners include Jonathan Wyatt (who still has the record from 2004), Antonio Molinari, Isabelle Guillot, Gudrun Pfluger, Izabela Zatorska, Angela Mudge, Antonella Confortola, and Melissa Moon.
Kitzbuhel Hornlauf (Austria)
Distance: 12.9 km (+1234m)
History: this race has a long history, dating back 41 years.
GROUP D (short)
Skåla Opp (Norway)
Distance: 8.2 km (+1819m)
History: this race started 17 years ago and is billed as ‘Northern Europe’s toughest uphill race’.
Drei Zinnen (Italy)
Distance: 17 km (+1333m)
History: now in its 23rd year, not many mountain races can boast a finish line as spectacular as this in the shadow of the iconic Tre Cima. Two new course records were set in 2019 by Sarah Tunstall and Petro Mamu.
Mount Washington Road Race (New Hampshire, USA)
Distance: 7.6 miles (+1402m)
History: this race has been held annually since 1966 but it actually originated in 1936. Previous winners include Jonathan Wyatt (who still holds the record he set in 2004), Matt Carpenter, Anna Pichrtova (6 times) and Joseph Gray (4 times).
Grossglockner Berglauf (Austria)
Distance: 13 km (+1265m)
History: the race has been in existence for 15 years. Previous winners include Jonathan Wyatt, Sarah Tunstall, Anna Pichrtova.
Schlickeralm Lauf (Austria)
Distance: 11.7 km (+1270m)
History: this mountain race started in 1991 and its venue of Telfes has served as the World, European and Masters Mountain Running Championships. Schlickeralm Lauf has also been part of the WMRA World Cup race many times with previous winners including Andrea Mayr (current women’s record holder and 4-time winner), Jonathan Wyatt (7 times), Geoffrey Gikuni Ndungu (4 times) and Anna Pichrtova (5 times).
Trofeo Vanoni (Italy)
Distance: 7.2 km (+435m)
History: this relay mountain race (or solo race for women) has a long history, dating back 62 years.
ARE YOU READY TO VOTE? Cast your ballot below: